MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers accredited sweeping laws Thursday to outlaw gender-affirming drugs for transgender youngsters and superior a separate measure prohibiting early classroom instruction on sexual and gender identification, a invoice critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”
The Alabama House of Representatives voted 66-28 for legislation to make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of people under age 19. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature as Alabama becomes the latest red state to promote legislation and policies aimed at trans youth. Ivey has not indicated whether she will sign it.
The topic of transgender and LGBTQ identity has become one of the GOP’s “wedge” points aimed toward securing votes as a result of they’re in style with the celebration’s base.
Rep. Neil Rafferty, the only openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature, appeared to struggle to hold back his anger and maintain composure as lawmakers headed to the vote.
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“This is wrong,” Rafferty mentioned. “Y’all sit there and campaign on family being the foundation of our nation … but what this bill is doing is totally undermining that. It’s totally undermining family rights, health rights and access to health care.”
Republican Rep. Wes Allen of Troy, sponsor of the House model of the invoice, argued throughout debate Thursday morning that transgender youth usually are not sufficiently old to make selections about gender-affirming treatment.
“Their brains are not developed to make the decisions long term about what these medications and surgeries do to their body,” Allen mentioned.
Rep. Chris England, who serves as chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, mentioned the measure targets already weak youngsters and primarily tells them they aren’t welcome in Alabama.
“You’re saying this is about children. It’s not. What it is about is scoring political points and using those children as collateral damage,” England said.
The bill would also require school counselors, nurses and others to tell parents if a child discloses they believe they are transgender.
A spokeswoman for Ivey did not immediately reply to a text message asking if the governor will sign the measure.
“I want the governor to know that she doesn’t have to sign this, she can veto it,” Jeff Walker, whose 15-year-old daughter, Harleigh, is transgender, said Thursday afternoon. “All you are doing is hurting Alabama families with these bills.”
Arkansas approved a similar law in 2021, but it was put on hold by the courts. Advocacy groups in Alabama have vowed to quickly challenge the measure if Ivey signs it into law.
In a written statement, Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, called the Alabama measure “essentially the most lethal, sweeping, and hostile regulation concentrating on transgender folks within the nation.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki informed reporters Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has warned states such legal guidelines and insurance policies could violate the Constitution and federal regulation.
“Today’s vote in Alabama will only serve to harm kids,” she mentioned.
The Alabama Senate superior separate laws Thursday associated to public college loos and discussions of gender and sexual identification in early grades.
Senators voted 26-5 to approve laws mandating that Ok-12 college students can solely use multiperson loos and locker rooms that correspond with the gender on their unique beginning certificates, somewhat than their present gender identification.
Republicans within the Senate additionally added language just like a regulation in Florida that critics referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” measure.
The Alabama language would “prohibit classroom instruction or dialogue on sexual orientation or gender identification” for students in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
The Alabama proposal goes further than Florida’s law, which includes grades K-3.
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